Star Wars Showrunner Reveals Indiana Jones Inspiration For Martial Arts Disney+ Show

By Andrew Gilman Posted:
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Disney+ is the home of Star Wars for the foreseeable future. The Mandalorian's second season is currently streaming new episodes, and Season 3 is set to begin filming in December. In addition, the Cassian Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi series will start production over the next several months, and a Boba Fett mini-series is rumored to start shooting imminently.

But there's an upcoming TV series that we've heard very little about - until now. On May the Fourth, it was officially announced that Leslye Headland would showrun and pen a female-led show for Disney+, with elements of martial arts in the mix. When and where the series takes place still remains an enigma, but Headland has given new clues that point to countless possibilities...


In an interview with Fantastic Frankey via ComicBook, screenwriter and showrunner Leslye Headland teased her series will touch an unknown part of the timeline:

"I would say it's in a pocket of the universe and a pocket of the timeline that we don't know much about."

The creator also discussed the approach to her story in terms of canon:

"I kind of see, if Star Wars is a religion... I like to think of my show as a tent revival. You can come over if you want to. We're going to be talking about some cool stuff. There's going to be some things we haven't discussed in the canon yet. There are going to be some characters you don't know about.

Headland cited the Star Wars: The Essential Atlas as her starting point for pitching the project:

"Every pitch starts here. It start with 'Where are we?' because I think that is always how I anchor myself within this particular world. You can't just always just start with 'I have a cool emotional idea,' or 'I have a cool concept I'd like to explore.'" 

She continued by saying that emotional value in pitches are important, but understanding the time and place is more-so:

"Those are all great and keep them up there, but it's an actual world with actual places. Where are you? Who's there? How much do we know about who's there and how much do we not know? Based on what we know about who's there, what can we infer from the political economic structure of that place and then, how does that dovetail into the story you want to tell?"

The geographic layout of the series was inspired by another franchise Star Wars fans are familiar with:

"For me, it's less about going through the Star Wars universe cinematically or artistically, I'm actually kind of combing through it geographically and go on a literal journey. When we were pitching, I had my designer create that Indiana Jones-like "we go here and then we go here," with the little dotted red line like this is our journey, this is where we're going."


Headland's comments don't really inch us much closer to figuring out what exactly the story is going to be, but her approach to this project is very interesting, and it's very cool to hear that Jason Fry's Atlas book is a major source of reference.

Given the way the showrunner discusses the unexplored area on the timeline the series will touch, it seems possible that the project could date back to as far as a thousand years prior to the events we know in the main saga - or even longer. Perhaps we could be going back to the earlier days of the Jedi, or even a time before the ancient religion?

With the Indiana Jones-inspired geographic map, this could be a series that doesn't necessarily branch out too far into the galaxy, and may be centered more around one system. What it is that characters do will explain why the martial arts elements are incorporated, and that style of fighting might indicate that the Force isn't used much in the series, if at all.

Another possibility is that everything takes place on one planet - Jedha. At one time, the holy site of pilgrimage where beings would go to worship the Force. In Rogue One, we visited this planet and met members of the Guardians of the Whills, of which the martial artist Chirrut Imwe was a part.

Maybe the geographic map isn't charting out the journey across the galaxy, but across just one planet? And perhaps the characters we meet will be members of the Guardians of the Whills? This wouldn't go much in line with Headland's comments about the story taking place in a largely unfamiliar area, but there's tons to be explored on Jedha and the Guardians are still a mostly untouched concept.

This could be, and likely is, completely off the mark, but it's fun to speculate. In all likelihood, Headland's project is introducing a completely new element to Star Wars unrelated to most of the things we've previously seen. How things shape up still remains to be seen, and we can only hope that more details about the characters, setting, and plot are revealed in the not too distant future.

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Release Date
June 04, 2024
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- About The Author: Andrew Gilman